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tv   [untitled]    March 26, 2013 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT

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better exit plan so they hopefully do not return. >> let's say you are dealing with somebody coming into system at their arrangement bail gets set and they are not even ready to post bail. do they have any power to release inmates where a bail has been set by a judge pending their trial? >> it depends on the classification of that inmate on a very case by case assessment because no sheriff would want to risk basic liability if something went awry. when they are high enough to give us a leap for that. our confidence level would have to be at a complete optimum to be
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sure there is not a blow back from our policy. >> let me ask joe sarco on that most of us believe there is an an evaluation that a judge makes in making a determination whether someone whether or not should be released on their own rerecog nizance. your lawyers are in court everyday at arraignments arguing for monetary bail or agree that a defendant should be released on their own recog nizance. what factors do you think are most important when district attorneys in a court are making that recommendation to the judge? >> yes. thank you for the opportunity and the public
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defenders office and jeff, for pro providing this forum. i believe that pretrial release should be based on three things, risk of violence, risk of reoffending or flight risk. i think that we have inject ed for many many years a commercial value to safety that i think needs to be reevaluated for the reasons that have been stated. the reality is that the current commercial value to the pretrial release has not only had an impact for minorities. 24 percent of hispanics do not get to bailout. about 35 percent of african americans do not get to bailout whereas white americans are right around 27 percent. but i think
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the problem we face is that we have not come up with good predictors of risk. and often the dialogue that occurs between a judicial officer and a district attorney and a defense attorney where there is a public defender or private counsel is really a discussion that is based on perhaps the individuals current offense, it maybe based on the individual's history of offending. it's really not a scientific way of having a discussion around safety and around flight risk. often many of the people that are given very high dollar bails are people where the bench is looking where all the intents and purpose there is no real bail that is because this person is a real risky person
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or perceived to be risky and perhaps a better response to this ought to be if we think this person and property is risky, there should be no bail. conversely if there is a way to evaluate that a person is not a danger to society and because of their evaluation of them that they will show up for court they will be released on their own recognizance. we have a high level of percentage wise of pretrial detentions as opposed to other counties. part of reason for that is because we have a very high level of alternative resolutions. for other counties for instance are barely using split sentences on the realignment. my option is meeting the state on the use of
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split sentencing which means a lot of people are out of jail way before they would be in any other community. these are post sentencing people that in another county would be county towards the racial population in the circle they are in the community. there is also a large number of people in place on community base supervision where another communities these people would be doing their time and incarceration. that has a tendency to impact the ratios because on the sentencing part of it, we are much more likely to release somebody into community that many other counties are. and we believe that has worked well for us. the crime rate has not gone up, in other areas it's low. we are the only one to do so and we are the only urban counties that have under population but the other ones
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are rural counties. i believe we are doing well. i believe with the sheriff's because we are doing well does not mean that we can't not do better. i believe we can do better. that someone is going to stay in custody in a pretrial setting should be really based on risk, risk of violence, risk of reoffending and/or is a flight risk. i think also as we looking at this, we need to push the whole concept of adjustment reinvestment. that needs to go to places to keep people coming into system in the first place. prevention models, more going towards public education and health is a long-term investment instead of putting into criminal justice system. i hope as we continue to develop this and
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other areas that we are focused in the whole concept and where we can take money away without risking public safety and putting money in social services that are more likely over a long period of time to continue to reduce crime and continue to create a safe environment and environment where we would not necessarily need to have this large investment in the criminal justice system. [ applause ] >> to mr. gas skon. if we were to eliminate money bail in effect turn over a decision whether or not someone is in custody to a judge whether or not they have been violator likely to reoffending or a flight risk, do you think that
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kind of system would likewise get accused of discrimination against the poor or racial minorities or do you think it would be more fair? >> i think it would be more fair. if you look at the fact that hispanics for instance are under the current system 4 percent more likely to be held on a pretrial setting than whites, 27 percent, we can show there is a disparity there. if we create a model that is based on evidence base risk factors that can be applied to the individual and the setting of that individual and can be done objectively not because an officer is making a
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decision but putting some kind of value system to those factors that are likely to impact risk. i think we are probably going to have a much more equitable system than we are having today. having said that, i think we need to recognize that our criminal justice system is anything but equal. we have had a very in equitable system for many years. i don't think anybody in this room have question the fact that african american and minorities are always more negatively impact by the criminal justice system. the improvement of that process is a journey. i don't think it's a destination, but i think we can have a no commercial bill system that could be done more fairly if it is done based on some clear objectives in factors that are prestated so it's not something that is simply left to the individual judgment of a judicial officer to do so arbitrarily.
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>> let me ask mr. looeng, perhaps you can tell the audience about the organization you lead and your experience with risk in needs assessment tools or the kind of evidence based factors that mr. gas skon is referencing. sn >> thank you, jeff, the project has in existence since 1976 and it's a non-profit organization. when we first came across this was a heavily needs base. we provide treatment and with the idea that you are going to impact the failure to appear or appearing in court and obviously recidivism. that's now jumping forward 30 or 20 years. in the last five years
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particularly you have heard these words in fact chief still spoke about it, evidence base. in the last decade the single biggest change in our social services has been the use now of technology and i see it sort of akin to and i read an article recently. what you are trying to do now is obviously face risk decisions now on much more empirically based situation. now the pretrial diversion project and pretrial release is really the hummer so to speak. the district attorney and sheriff set the policy. we
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have been working or this base practice for years. obviously the major stake holders, the district attorneys, the she rifs. just to give you an idea of the scope of what we are doing. approximately 1100 people come out of jail from our program. this time we are targeting somewhere around 1500 cases. prior to the last 3 or 4 years, the data that is now coming in, recidivism is around 6 or 7 percent, failure to appear rate or people to appear
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in court is lower. they are walking people out of jail. we've just come out of a difficult 4-5 years and that is budget years with a lot of social services being cut and really at the end of the day when you are talking about it and talking about housing and talking about employment, you are talking about counseling; you are talking about substance abuse. when there is not access to those services and you are trying to wrap it around. come full circle to your question, how do you now relate to the risk assessment or the much more refine instrument? i totally agree that there has to
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be this instrument that assesses risk and where as 20 years ago, there is risk assessment side. what you have to do is realize limited resources. we simply must focus ourn our energies now. you have to focus your services and get obviously the return. that's where the services have been. there has been a tremendous advantage in the last 5 years. everyday our office is changing. i fully expect that as this is happening now, our case managers, the challenge for our case managers, they are going to have to adapt to look at these practices in the same way. but you can't substitute great case manager and social services and that's really how
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it wraps into what we do. >> before i get to miss dewint, i want to give professor simon a chance to say a few words. i'm wondering professor if you can context lies this discussion historically and whether or not there has ever been a large or successful movement in this state towards the elimination of money bail? >> now you are going stump me by starting off with an empirical question i can't answer. first i'm very honored to be here with plenty of officials. i have tenure so let me be blunt. we are speaking about building a system which we call mass incarceration. we
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have many of people who don't need to be locked up and that is to provide public safety. that's one of the reasons i see bail as so critical. it's not a sexy topic. it's one of the reasons it's languaged for decades. it's really the beginning that leads to incarceration and i would suggest to you that what happens beginning with the failure of the bail reform effort of 60s to achieve a constitutional right to bail. i would like to come back to that because if the constitutional rights can find to incarcerate, they can talk about bail. i think what is so dangerous about that moment and it came to a surface in the bail reform act of 1984, the federal law,
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the birth of preventative detention which one thought was clearly unconstitutional and then became a public good that changed the whole view of a system. now we live in a justice preemptive justice, but they will commit other crimes in the future. i would say if we all now agree or at least many of us agree with justice kennedy that the result has been a prison system that is barbaric that doesn't belong in a civilized society and serious atonement and i think you would recognize in the california prisons to meet that. let me say why it's a risk. it's always so reasonable to see risk as a way on out of these. i don't think i need to remind
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those in the room that an entire population were incarcerated for risk. nobody was held accountable for it either. if you look at the way this is a risk, you see racial class is at the end of the day
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the right kind of community ties and is risk reduction. professor simon, let me ask a
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follow-up. i want to get an idea of what a system you are advocating would look like. let's say you have arraignment for somebody in a case alleging violence. maybe an armed robbery or sexual assault of some kind. are you comfortable with someone having a right to be released on their own recognizant under the theory that the police should do their work and make sure that person doesn't commit other offenses? and that it's not legitimate to make that consideration at the time of a bail assessment? >> i think that is my view, i think through slow steps we accumulated a system that has a ton of minor offenders and not able to accused in that way. and the right of the
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constitution and the rights we have made up for the mistakes made. we have to toss out the low-level crimes not just in the city but many parts of the state. and with that bandwidth of focus, we focus on the areas and a activity and crime and less on locking people up. in either case we are punishing the people ahead of their trial. after all 3% of americans receive a trial at this point. in what we like to think as our justice system that's a moderate risk system that i think has failed. >> let me ask our law enforcement officials, mirkarimi and george gascón, do you agree
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with professor simon? could we have a system that didn't like to the likelihood of reoffense or what the charge is or looked whether or not someone is coming back to court. >> go ahead. >> yes, i was referencing earlier there has to be stakeholders all the page. and for the sheriff department to reclassify and allow someone to be released, pretrialed, supervi supervised and that's high
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majority of the time. but if there was criteria charged and not just based on discretion of the sheriff or the district attorney. but the criteria to reconfigure and acknowledge so it's a part of law in the city and county of san francisco. that to me affirms our commitment to what this experiment would look like. to make a product of the discretionary act by those elected. so goes with that experiment the tentativeness of what this commitment would actually be. why is why -- which is why i would like to see what the mayor's office and board of supervisors to look at those forms of discipline and what they look like to us. >> i recognize the fear -- and i think it's a fear, not even a
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concern that professor simon has creating an assessment tool that can be manipulated for low-level offenses or drug offenses that can end up like the impact much like we have today with the commercial bail system. but i believe there is a way that we can create validated risk assessment tools that would look at the areas of concern. whether we are talking about the likelihood for reoffending in a violent way or the likelihood of not showing up in court. i think there are systems in place that show a tremendous amount of promise. and we can continue to go down that path to create that tool to avoid to the greatest extent possible picking on those things that frankly large people are incarcerated in the past and still in many cases. and taking those away. and looking at the real risk.
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we know there are some people for a variety of reasons that will be inherently violent. and for those people, unfortunately the only thing that is going to work at that point in time is going to be incapacitation. and there is the ability to predict that with a high degree of certainty and still move away from factors are focusing on someone's race or gender. i believe those are valid tools that can be developed and there is a lot of knowledge base on that. and it's important for us to look at the possibility of skipping your due date in court. i think part of the validity and credibility of the court system is based on people agreeing to show up. and again there are many factors and many based on evidence that is proven by people that are
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likely to come back court and show up and people who are not. clearly service is the kind of service that could take somebody right on the edge and they could make all the difference in the world. and we should focus and put those people in the services. again we can create a risk assessment tool that would place to have pretrial service and ensure that person will return. i don't believe that risk assessment is exclusive with fairness, but i fully understand your concern. clearly the system is not one that gives a lot of comfort. but i don't think we should be precluded moving forward, especially in a community like ours we have a tremendous opportunity for inspiration and the will to do so and do it
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right. and to continue to set the trail and show this can be done and done thoughtfully. >> sheriff mirkarimi. i . i want to add the effect that last year in 2012 we immoralized the sheriff department taking over bail. because of the stress of the court system that can no longer process the bail due to the budget hits that the court system was taking. and we took a snapshot of over 2500 transactions in 2012. that comes to $23 million. and coming through us the process is that you pay your assurity or your entire bail. going through the bailbonds
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industry that 10% represents $10 million. >> let me make an announcement that we will take questions from the audience. if you want to ask one, there are cards that you can signal to amy who will hand you one. we would love to hear your questions. mrs. dewitt, it's been a while since you had the podium or the mic. there has been a lot said, i am wondering when you hear this talk about eliminating money bail system. is this something that can realistically happen or were we able to achieve that, there would be a move to reinstate what your organization does? >> let me first off thank you, matt, let me first say i feel like a minority among the panel. but i am not overwhelmed by it. i think we have a little misconception here and what we
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forget all along, the public, the taxpayers. the bail industry provides a service to the criminal justice system and has here in the united states. we do this without cost of the taxpayers. none of this burden is on the taxpayers. and what i see happening, and i have had discussions with the aclu and pretrial on. it's not a cookie-cutter situation. bail is very personal. to have a policy or government entity responsible for arresting you and adjudicating your case and the sentencing and bail. there no check balances involved in this. i have sat in los angeles and

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